Backpacking the Wind River Range - A hiker approaches the entrance into Titcomb Basin, a Bridger Wilderness destination requiring a multi-day hike.

Backpacking the Wind River Range – A hiker approaches the entrance into Titcomb Basin, a Bridger Wilderness destination requiring a multi-day hike. © AIC

Wind River Range Trailheads Ordered by popularity.


Elkhart Park Trailhead

Elkhart Park is the trailhead closest to Pinedale, and is a major access point for the Wind River Range. Wyoming's highest peak, Gannett Peak, is most scenically approached from here, as well as Titcomb Basin and Fremont Peak. Elkhart Park is located 15 miles northeast of Pinedale with fully-paved road access. Two trailheads and a campground called Trail's End with 8 campsites make up this entry. Elevation at Elkhart Park Trailhead and Trail's End Campground is 9,100'. This is a high-use campground and trailhead, with toilets and corrals. There is non-potable water available. A manned Forest Service visitor center is located at the entrance to Elkhart Park.


Green River Lakes Trailhead

Green River Lakes trailhead is home to the majestic Squaretop Mountain, which towers over the sprawling river valley. The headwaters of the Green River can be found up the trail at Stroud Glacier, and anglers appreciate the backcountry fishing here. At the northernmost tip of the Wind River Range, this trailhead is located approximately 52 miles north of Pinedale with 21 miles of washboarded gravel and dirt road. The Forest Service Operated Green River Lakes Campground has 39 sites. This is a high-use area, and at an elevation of 8,000' is one of the lowest trailheads in the Winds. There is a large parking area at the trailhead including log structure toilets, drinking water, corrals and hitch rails.


Big Sandy Trailhead

Big Sandy is the southernmost trailhead/campground in the Winds yet still boasts high use because of access to areas such as the Cirque of the Towers and Pyramid Lake, as well as the Continental Divide Trail. The 54-mile trip from Pinedale is partially paved, but has about 27 miles of gravel and dirt. The last 10 miles of the road are very rough and narrow and are not recommended for RV travel, although not prohibitive. The campground offers 12 sites surrounding the parking area for Big Sandy Trailhead. The campground and trailhead are at an elevation of 9,100'. Corrals are available. There is moderate parking at the trailhead with toilets and corrals. No drinking water is available.


New Fork Trailhead

The New Fork Lakes and surroundings forest and rocky canyon walls are beautiful. Furthermore, the New Fork Lakes Trailhead accesses good mountain stream fishing and a relatively mild approach deep into the central Wind River Range. The trailhead is approximately 24 miles north of Pinedale via highway 352 and about 4 miles of good gravel road. This is a medium-use area at an elevation of 7,800'. Two National Forest Campgrounds are located near the trailhead. There is a small parking area at the trailhead for wilderness travelers with drinking water, corrals and hitch rails.The Narrows Campground also has a volunteer Campground Host who can provide more information on current conditions in the area. This area suffered a wildfire in 2008, so expect to see some charred trees in the beginning.


Scab Creek Trailhead

The Scab Creek Trailhead is a go-to for some serious backcountry fishing and spectacular panoramic views in Bonneville Basin of the Wind River Range. Backpackers appreciate the quieter hiking, and anglers can't spend enough time with the countless alpine lakes in this area. The Scab Creek Campground managed by the Bureau of Land Management is near the trailhead and was renovated in 2010 with 9 sites. Scab Creek Trailhead is located approximately 24 miles southeast of Pinedale via Highway 353 and 5 miles on good gravel road. This campground and trailhead receive medium hiker and stock use. Corrals are located near the trailhead. No water is available, and hikers are recommended to pack in water for the first day. The closest town is Boulder which has limited services and few supplies. Pinedale is the closest town for full services.


Boulder Lake Trailhead

Boulder Lake Trailhead is a go-to for motivated backcountry anglers. The range's greatest concentration of backcountry fishing is found in the Wind River Range's mid-section, and the Boulder Lake Trailhead provides access to pristine alpine lake and stream fishing. Boulder Lake Trailhead is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Pinedale. The road is partially paved, followed by 10 miles of gravel and dirt road. The Boulder Lake Campground, with 28 sites, is located near the trailhead. The trailhead is located at an elevation of 7,300' and receives moderate hiking and stock use. There are very limited camping opportunities for the first 8 miles due to the topography, so plan accordingly. This area suffered a wildfire in 1988, so expect to see some charred trees on this route. There is a large parking area near the trailhead with toilets and corrals. No drinking water available. The closest town is Boulder which has limited services and few supplies. Pinedale is the closest town for full services.


Half Moon Lake Trailhead

Half Moon Lake Trailhead is a getaway for anglers seeking solitude, or backpackers wanting good access to the Winds Rivers starting at relatively lower altitudes. Located approximately 11 miles from Pinedale, this is a low-use trail network. The first portion of the road is paved, followed by 2 miles of maintained gravel road to a small parking area. The Half Moon Lake campground is detached from the trailhead and offers 16 campsites and vault toilets. The trailhead has a day use area on the lake shore. No water is available at the campground, day use area, or trailhead. There is a boat ramp with parking area prior to the trailhead.


Burnt Lake Trailhead

Burnt Lake Trailhead provides good fishing access for those who want the solitude of a low-use area. Burnt Lake is located approximately 24 miles from Pinedale and is at an elevation of 8,000'. The road is rough gravel and a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. RVs are not advised. There is no drinking water available, and no corrals at the campground. The closest town is Boulder which has limited services and few supplies. Pinedale is the closest town for full services.


Meadow Lake Trailhead

Meadow Lake Trailhead offers isolation for adventurers who wish for it. This is a low-use trailhead that is not recommended for low clearance vehicles or sedans. No corrals or drinking water at the trailhead. No restrooms or campground nearby. This area receives very light use from other hikers and stock, but is a major access for Timico Lakes and some supreme backcountry fishing opportunities.


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Wyoming Range Trailheads Ordered by popularity.


Middle Piney Lake Trailhead

The Middle Piney Trailhead leads to one of the most scenic areas in the Wyoming Range: upper Middle Piney Creek and Wyoming Peak. A historic lookout cabin on the summit of Wyoming Peak offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. This trail meets up with the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail after passing a beautiful waterfall. Access road is single lane gravel surface with turn outs, and low-clearance vehicles are not advised. Trailhead is located at Middle Piney Lake next to the campground. The Middle Piney Lake Campground has 5 sites and restroom facilities that can accommodate persons with disabilities.


North Horse Creek Trail

The North Horse Creek Trail is popular for hiking and mountain biking in summer, and snowmobiling and Nordic skiing in winter. The trailhead gives access along Horse Creek and climbs the south side of the Rim dropping into the Hoback River drainage. Open park and forested slopes make this trail a pleasant ramble along the creek, with easy access to the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail.


McDougal Gap Trailhead

The McDougal Gap Trailhead puts hikers directly on the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail and is a major access to the central Wyoming Range. The McDougal Gap road is the only road that crosses the Wyoming Range and allows access to the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail from both the west via Sheep Creek, and east via North Cottonwood/Ryegrass Road. The access road is gravel in good condition which is typically snow-free in late June. There is no water or restroom facilities at the trailhead.


South Piney Creek Trailhead

The South Piney Creek Trailhead is the southernmost access point for the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail. The South Piney Creek Road is gravel in good condition and is typically snow-free from late June through September. There are no restroom or water facilities at the trailhead. This easy trail travels through a narrow, winding canyon with small hills and plenty of water available for filtration. The trail crosses the creek many times. Be alert for trail blazes, which are infrequent. Maps are recommended for this area.


North Piney, Lake Creek, & Lunch Creek Trails

The Bare Pass Road gives access to several trails in the Wyoming Range including the North Piney, Lake Creek and Lunch Creek Trails. The Lake Creek Trail leads to North Piney Lake, a popular camp destination which can be done in a day or several days. The Lake Creek Trail is open to motorized trail vehicles and is considered difficult due to creek fords and terrain. Enjoy open views of the range, broad parks, easy walking, and good fishing and hunting. Due to talus and steep pitches, bike riding is a challenge. Access road is good gravel which is typically snow-free from late June through September.